Dievs, svētī Latviju!

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Dievs, svētī Latviju!
English: God Bless Latvia!
Sheet music for the national anthem of Latvia in the handwriting of Kārlis Baumanis.

National anthem of Latvia
LyricsKārlis Baumanis, 1873
MusicKārlis Baumanis, 1873
Preceded byAnthem of the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic
Audio sample
U.S. Navy Band instrumental version

"Dievs, svētī Latviju!" (Latvian pronunciation: [diɛu̯s svɛːtiː ˈlatviju]; "God Bless Latvia!") is the national anthem of Latvia. Created in 1873 as a patriotic song, it did not gain official status until 1920.

History and composition[edit]

The music and lyrics were written in 1873 by Kārlis Baumanis, a teacher who was part of the Young Latvian nationalist movement.[1] It is thought that Baumanis was inspired by a popular song "Dievs, svētī Kurzemi/Vidzemi!" ("God bless Kurzeme/Vidzeme!", which was modified depending on the region it was used in) that was sung to tune of "God Save the King". Baumanis's lyrics were different from the modern ones: he used the term "Baltics" synonymously and interchangeably with "Latvia" and "Latvians", so "Latvia" was actually mentioned only at the beginning of the first verse. Later, the term "Latvia" was removed and replaced with "Baltics" to avoid a ban on the song. This has led to the misapprehension that the term "Latvia" was not part of the song until 1920, when it was chosen as national anthem, and the word "Baltics" was replaced with "Latvia".[2][3]

During the occupation of Latvia by the Soviet Union, the singing of "Dievs, svētī Latviju!" was banned. The Soviet republic of Latvia had its own anthem. "Dievs, svētī Latviju!" was restored as the state anthem of Latvia on 15 February 1990,[4] a very short period before Latvian independence was restored on 4 May.

The anthem's tune was modernized with a new F-major version that is used since 2014; formerly, a G-major version was used on LTV's sign-on and sign-offs daily from 2011 to 2013. However, the G-major version was still played on any occasion (especially and notably, during times of mourning). The current version played on LTV for their sign-on and sign-offs daily is in the key of B-flat major.


Latvian original[5] IPA transcription[a] English translation

𝄆 Dievs, svētī Latviju!
Mūs' dārgo tēviju
Svētī jel Latviju
Ak, svētī jel to! 𝄇

𝄆 Kur latvju meitas zied
Kur latvju dēli dzied
Laid mums tur laimē diet
Mūs' Latvijā! 𝄇

𝄆 [diævs | svɛː.tiː ɫɑt.vi.ju ‖]
[muːz‿dɑːr.guɔ̯ tɛː.vi.ju]
[svɛː.tiː jɛɫ ɫɑt.vi.ju]
[ɑk | svɛː.tiː jɛɫ tuɔ̯ ‖] 𝄇

𝄆 [kur ɫɑt.vju mɛi̯.tæz‿zi̯æd]
[kur ɫɑt.vju dɛː.ɫi d͡ziæd]
[ɫɑi̯d mu(m)s tur ɫɑi̯.mɛː diæt]
[muːz‿ɫɑt.vi.jɑː ‖] 𝄇

𝄆 God, bless Latvia!
Our dear fatherland,
Do bless Latvia,
Oh, do bless it! 𝄇

𝄆 Where Latvian daughters bloom,
Where Latvian sons sing,
Let us dance in happiness there,
In our Latvia! 𝄇

Other uses[edit]

  • The Viesturdārzs park of Riga have a monument to Kārlis Baumanis with the music sheet of Dievs, svētī Latviju! on it.
  • Latvian 2 euro coins bear the inscription DIEVS SVĒTĪ LATVIJU around the edge.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Darba apraksts". LIIS mūzikas lapas (in Latvian). Latvijas Izglītības informatizācijas sistēma. Archived from the original on 2007-05-12. Retrieved 2007-05-27.
  2. ^ Dr. art. Arnolds Klotiņš (1998-11-13). "Latvijas svētās skaņas (Part I)" (in Latvian). Latvijas Vēstnesis. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
  3. ^ Dr. art. Arnolds Klotiņš (1998-11-17). "Latvijas svētās skaņas (Part II)" (in Latvian). Latvijas Vēstnesis. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
  4. ^ Dzintra Stelpe (2009). Lielā Latvijas Enciklopēdija (in Latvian). Riga: Zvaigzne ABC. p. 263. ISBN 9789984408095. OCLC 644036298.
  5. ^ "Par Latvijas valsts himnu" (in Latvian). Latvijas Vēstnesis. 1998-03-05. Retrieved 2007-05-27.

External links[edit]